Today marks five years since I made a final trip to the vet with my beloved feline friend Nermal. Two and a half months before, he had been diagnosed with renal failure – which was fairly far along by the time we caught it. From the day of his diagnosis on, my life was a blur of struggling to find ways to fight it, which turned into struggling to find ways to make him more comfortable and make sure he wasn’t suffering. I was in college at the time, trying to create a better life for me and my cats, and was running home on the bus at lunch time to check on him and coax him into a bite of food when I could.
And, finally, he made it clear to me that he didn’t want to fight any longer. Saturday the 15th, I ran him to the vet in a panic because he was slipping so fast; the vet called me after hours to tell me that his kidney function values were off the scale and there was nothing left we could do.
Sunday the 16th, we spent together – he wasn’t really aware of anything but me, I think.
And Monday the 17th, after farewells from various vets and vet office staff who had come to know and love him in the past years of dealing with his diabetes and the past months, after farewells from the friends who came to be with him and me, a very gentle and loving vet gave him a final injection while he was in my arms, and within a heartbeat, he was free.
I miss him still, enough to cry for him sometimes. He was with me when I moved out into my first apartment on my own, with me for my first real relationship, with me through so much.
I created the first incarnation of his memorial site that spring. It’s been improved and streamlined repeatedly since then. Yesterday was the most recent – although, as of this writing, I haven’t been able to get the photo gallery back up after a problem at our host, but I’m going to be working on it today.
Here’s to all of us who love them, even knowing the hurt that’s going to come, and keep opening ourselves to it anyway because of the rewards of the time we get with them – and to all our beloved furry friends who enrich our lives and wait for us across the Rainbow Bridge.
PS, added just before bed:
After struggling with multiple uncooperative photo galleries, I have a solution. You can see pictures of Nermal here.